Building and maintaining a strong link profile is critical for SEO success. Search engines, notably Google, depend heavily on these signals, and according to some experts, your link profile is the most significant factor in your site’s ranking. Ahrefs is a platform through which webmasters can monitor and analyse the backlinks to any given site. It offers a wealth of data – but what can you do with all of that information?
When users enter a URL into Ahrefs website (which couldn’t be easier to use: simply copy the URL and paste into the search box), a thorough report is generated. It includes:
URL rank and Ahrefs Domain rank.
Number of pages crawled.
Anchor phrases and terms.
Social mentions (i.e. Facebook likes and shares, tweets, and +1s).
And more! However, unlike heavier platforms (such as Majestic SEO), Ahrefs doesn’t overwhelm users with irrelevant or useless data, and the intuitive layout makes it easy to find what you need and filter the rest. While the functionality of the Ahrefs program is impressive and you can perform a number of essential tasks, one of the most useful is link analysis or auditing.
You can track incoming links to your site and monitor closely for spam. In your Backlinks Report, you can click through to the sites which have linked to your site and determine their quality. Do they have a legitimate reason to link to you? Do you provide value for the referring sites’ audiences? If you find the link to be of poor quality, you can take immediate steps to have it removed. If the webmaster refuses, you can strategically use Google’s Link Disavow tool to clean up your link profile.
This barely scratches the surface of what SEOs and webmasters can do with Ahrefs, so here’s a slightly closer look at a few of the best features.
Site Explorer and Backlink Checker
To use this tool, you start by simply entering a URL, a URL along with subpaths and query strings, a domain without subdomains, or one with them. You can also compare up to five different domains. Once you’ve entered that information, you can then choose from a variety of different options to get the results you need. The overview allows you to look at the URL Rank, the Ahrefs domain rank, the backlinks, any referring domains, the number of Google +1s, social media information including tweets and Facebook Likes and shares, the number of referring pages, the total number of backlinks, the crawled pages, referring subnets, referring domains, and links from .gov and .edu sites.
There’s also a breakup of the types of backlinks you might be getting including those that are text, dofollow, nofollow, sitewide, not sidewide, redirect, image, frame, form, governmental, and educational.
Additionally, you see a pictorial representation of backlinks, broken down in three sections including one for text, redirect, frame, and form, one for no follow and do follow links. What follows that is a referring domains graph that records information over a given period of time.
After that, you’ll also see the anchor text and a percentage breakdown so you can tell how often it has been used to build links. After that, you see a graph of number of referred pages, which anchor phrases they used, and the domains that refer to it. From there, you see the terms cloud, and the referring pages and domains from those. Finally, you see a distribution of the do-follows, one of the no-follows, as well as the site-wide distribution.
The report for backlinks is equally as easy to understand. You’ll first see all of the information that tells you more about the backlinks for site-side, text, frame, form, redirect, do-follow, no-follow, image, notimage, .gov, and .edu. There are lots of filtering tools so you can select which backlink you most want to see. You’ll also see all of the currently live backlinks. External backlinks information is also available. You’ll see an Ahrefs rank as well as the domain rank assigned by the program. You’ll also see spots where your backlink appears as well as the social media information. The record of the links (both internal and external) is available, as is the link anchor and the URL for it offered and the type of link. You can even explore when it was previously reviewed.
If you’re looking for information over a certain period of time so you can track your new backlinks or your lost backlinks, you can look at a calendar function to show what you’ve earned for a day, a month, or whatever. You get a handy graph that’s pretty helpful. You get the rank, URL, social signals, internal and external links, and the HTTP code as well as the anchor text, URL, and the time when the link was added or deleted.
You can also take a closer look at referring and new/lost domains. Again, you’ll see two different sections. The first is the domains that refer to you. The second is the New/Lost domains. You’ll see a list of the TLDs and the links earned. When one is selected, you get a rank, ALEXA rank, and the number of backlinks from a given site, and the date when it was seen and the name. You can even have a deeper look by clicking the plus sign.